skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 120168 Find in a Library
Title: They is Clowning Tough: 911 and the Social Construction of Reality
Journal: Criminology  Volume:27  Issue:2  Dated:(May 1989)  Pages:329-344
Author(s): J F Gilsinan
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 16
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the interaction of 911 operators with callers and grew out of an applied research project aimed at providing descriptive information of call-taker activity to use in developing a training program for 911 personnel.
Abstract: The study is based on both 36 hours of participant observation, and on an analysis of 265 randomly recorded telephone contacts between citizens and police emergency operators over a 24-hour period. Operators use the initial data from callers to construct a definition of an event that makes sense organizationally. The interpretive work of the 911 operators places them in the category of street-level bureaucrat. They remake clients to fit the agency criteria of service. In assessing 911 operations, researchers and police administrators need to look in two directions. Focusing externally, there is a need to work with citizens, upgrade equipment and train operators in how to elicit better details from callers. This would improve the quality of incoming data. Looking internally, it is necessary to recognize the importance and power of 911 operators. 1 note, 22 references, 1 table. (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Nine-one-one (911) emergency telephone number
Index Term(s): Dispatching; Emergency communications; Police dispatch training
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.